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We’re officially in the dog days of summer, and there’s never been a better time to hit the riverbank or lake and do some bass fishing.

When and where is your business (though we’d love to help), but we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to lure selection to help take the guess work out of choosing the right baits for the season.

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Caught on a topwater at dusk.

Fish Behavior

Hot summer days mean higher water temperatures, and bass will move closer to shore early in the day to feed and then return to deeper water as the sun rises. They use creek channels as highways to move from shore to points, humps or sunken islands, so look more towards open water and deeper-running baits as the day wears on. Typically they feed on shad and other small fish as a group, moving and feeding together in schools, but crawfish, salamanders, leaches and frogs are also on the menu.

Early Morning

Topwater baits are good early in the day, spinnerbaits work well and jigging spoons are great for schooling bass. Use chrome, white and/or shad colors for the topwaters and jigging spoons, and white, chartreuse and fire tiger for spinnerbaits. Work these baits in the shallow areas while it’s still cool.

Curltail worms are a tried-and-true option for bass.

Curltail worms are a tried-and-true option for bass.

Afternoon and Evening

Tradition says this is the best time of the year for plastic worms, grubs, lizards and tube baits either Texas- or Carolina-rigged. Worms in black, blue, green and watermelon work really well. Let your bait sink to the bottom around hidden structures in deep water and use a rise-and-fall action. Be patient and let the bass come to your bait.

Lipless crank baits are also a good choice in open water, especially if you come across a school of bass feeding around a large structure. Work these baits in medium to deep water for best results.

Robert Jones
About the Author

Robert handles Gunn&Hook's content marketing and is an avid bass angler and fly fisherman. He typically works remotely from the river bank.